June 15, 2012

Great-Grandmom's Georgia Cornbread

My grandmother grew up in Georgia, as did much of her family before her. When I was growing up, she lived in NJ near us, but her mother still lived in the same house my grandmother grew up in. On the occasions we were able to visit, my great-grandmother would make cornbread for us. Before or since, I have never tasted better.

Unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago and her cornbread recipe went with her. My grandmother attests that she made it from memory without too much measuring and a lot of just knowing what's "right." After consulting my mother and grandmother, I think I was able to piece together a recipe very similar to hers.

They agreed on most points- that she used yellow cornmeal, regular flour, and, most importantly, bacon grease. That last part I couldn't forget, she had a vat of it in the kitchen- ready for anything. They, however, disagreed as to her use of buttermilk. After having tried it both with and without, I concluded that buttermilk is definitely the way to go.

Great-Grandmom's Georgia Cornbread
makes 8 generous slices

What You'll Need:
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup bacon grease (or melted butter, if you prefer)
    2 eggs
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt

The Process:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch cast iron skillet. Mix your grease, sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until well combined. Mix in cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt until smooth. Batter will be runny. Pour into prepared skillet and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown on top and toothpick comes out clean.

Serve it warm with butter or a little honey. Alternatively, you can pour it into a muffin tin and make cornbread muffins. Reduce baking time to 20 minutes. I use cast iron because that's what great-grandmom did and it gives it a nice crust, but you don't have to.

I think this is as close as I'll ever get to the cornbread my great grandmother made without her here to tell me otherwise. I might have to make another batch already- this one is gone!

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